(8 February 2023) The Fed giveth, and the Fed taketh away.
After rallying on Fed Chair Powell’s speech yesterday, stocks fell back
down to earth today as comments from other Fed governors took a more
hawkish tone. Indexes fell by more than 1% on Wednesday after Fed
Governor Christopher Waller warned of a “long fight” against inflation
that might require rates being higher for longer than many investors
All these Fed speakers are creating a considerable amount of
confusion as market participants try to anticipate when the Fed may
finally end its tightening cycle and begin to cut interest rates. While
inflation may well have peaked last summer, the most recent jobs report
was stronger than expected and showed no signs of slack in the labor
market in light of record low unemployment. As long as the labor market
is robust, wages will keep trending higher and continue to put upward
pressure on consumer prices.
As I noted in last week’s update,
the near term planetary situation looks uncertain at best. The
horoscope of the Federal Reserve is coming under increased pressure as
transiting Mars approaches its conjunction with natal Saturn (20 Taurus)
over the next week or so. This Mars affliction may manifest as
greater criticism of the way the Fed communicates its policies as well
as greater scrutiny of the policies themselves.
The confusion surrounding the Fed’s approach may also damage investor
sentiment and produce more skittishness in the markets. Based on this
week’s transits, Saturn is assuming a greater prominence in the coming
days. In fact, Wednesday’s decline coincided closely with the
30-degree alignment of Mercury (2 Capricorn) with Saturn (2 Aquarius).
And yet, this two-factor pattern is probably not the whole reason for
If we look under the surface, we can see that Saturn is involved with
larger configurations involving slower moving and more powerful
planets. The transit chart cast for Friday, February 10 illustrates
this more clearly. Thus, the angular separation of Saturn and Pluto
(=28°03) almost exactly matches that of Mars and Uranus (=27°39). When
the angular separations of two pairs of planets are equal, their
energies tend to resonate more strongly. Since there are two natural
malefics planets here — Mars and Saturn — the effect of this
configuration is more likely to be bearish on the markets.
A few additional points can be made. First, the conjunction of
Mercury with Pluto at 4 Capricorn should serve to amplify the bearish
effect of this pattern, although it could also manifest a day before or
after given a standard margin of error. We should also note that the
Mars-Uranus/Saturn-Pluto alignment won’t be exact until the weekend.
While it’s close enough to increase the bearish influence later this
week, it’s also possible its effects could be delayed or manifest more
fully outside regular trading hours. Also, we can see a possible
offsetting bullish influence on Friday (late) as the angular separation
of Venus-Neptune almost matches that of Jupiter-Chiron around 5
degrees. However, since this four-planet alignment only becomes exact
on Saturday, it is uncertain if its bullish influence will be felt
during Friday’s US trading hours.
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which is published every Sunday. In addition to reviewing the key
planetary and technical influences on US and Indian stocks for the short
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upcoming moves in currencies, gold and oil.
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Photo Credit: M.V. Jantzen